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Movies Made in the Mountains

Deliverance (1972)
Chattahoochee National Forest, Ga.
The 1972 adaptation of the James Dickey novel has scarred the South forever with backwoods cultural stereotypes, but it also yielded one of the region’s most successful films. The thrilling adventure that was filmed in Georgia on the Chattooga River—where paddlers and rafters still pass the movie-instilled landmark Deliverance Rock—and in the Tallulah Gorge was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, and it jumpstarted the careers of Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, and John Voight. Reynolds has said that this movie forever changed his career and his life.

Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980) Wise County, Virginia
The Oscar-winning film about the life of Loretta Lynn included a few scenes at the Wise County fairgrounds. During filming, a drunken incident landed Tommy Lee Jones in a local jail.

Dirty Dancing (1987) Lake Lure, N.C. and Mountain Lake, Va.
In addition to taking over the Mountain Resort in Southwest Virginia to create the fictitious Kellerman’s resort, the Dirty Dancing film crew also used the idyllic mountain setting of Lake Lure, N.C. Located between Asheville and Charlotte in western North Carolina, the man-made Lake Lure sits within the vast canyon walls of Hickory Nut Gorge. Lake Lure Tours offers boat rides that reveal the exact spot in the water where Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey practiced their famous lift move. The big dance finale was then filmed at the Lake Lure Inn right off the main drag of downtown. The inn also hosted Swayze and Grey as guests during filming.

Bull Durham (1988) Asheville, N.C.
This late-80s box office hit starred Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins, and it focused on the follies of the Durham Bulls, a minor league baseball team in Durham, N.C. However, the ball park scenes were actually filmed at historic McCormick Field in Asheville, N.C.

The Last of the Mohicans (1992) Chimney Rock, N.C.
The 535 million-year-old monolith that protrudes from the top of Hickory Nut Gorge provided the setting for some of the most dramatic moments of the film, including the final chase and fight scenes. The movie, which starred Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe, was an adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s classic eighteenth century novel.

The Fugitive (1993) Dillsboro, N.C.
Although Dr. Richard Kimble, played by Harrison Ford, was supposedly being transported to prison in Illinois, the famous train wreck and escape scene was filmed in Western North Carolina along the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad.

Sommersby (1993)
Warm Springs, Va.
Jodi Foster and Richard Gere starred in this post-Civil War love story that was filmed at the Hidden Valley Bed and Breakfast in the western Virginia Allegheny Mountains. Additional scenes were shot in nearby Lexington.

Forrest Gump (1994) Grandfather Mountain, N.C.
Wherever he went, heeee waaaaas runnnnning. Forrest Gump is the story of that loveable doofus who managed to successfully stumble through the most important historical, political, and cultural events of the second half of 20th century America. One of his biggest accomplishments in the film was a three-year running expedition across the country, where he only stopped to eat and sleep. Some of the epic running scenes were filmed along the winding roads leading up to Grandfather Mountain. Although it’s assumed that Tom Hanks is running up the mountain, it’s actually his brother running as a stunt double. The scene, though, lives in infamy on the road up to the mountain on a signpost that reads “Forrest Gump Curve.”

The Green Mile (1999) Blowing Rock, N.C.
Flat Top Manor of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, located at mile 293 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, acted as a nursing home in this adaptation of Stephen King’s bestseller starring Tom Hanks.

Evan Almighty (2007)
Crozet, Va.
Steve Carell’s turn as God’s chosen one featured a Blue Ridge backdrop, as most of this comedy was shot in the rural central Virginia town of Crozet.

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